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Spotsylvania family still has questions after a fire destroyed their home and killed 25 pets
A banner at the Byrds' home seeks answers. However, the county fire marshal says there's no indication it was arson.
photos by ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 6/16/2012
"What I'm trying to do is, obviously, find a little bit of closure for myself--try to let people know that I really, truly do feel that there could have been some other element," she said. "It may not have been an accident. Do I know that for sure? No, I honestly don't."
Marye thought the investigation into her fire was closed and that the incident had been ruled accidental.
But Spotsylvania Deputy Fire Marshal Phil Sullivan said the cause of both fires is unknown. The investigations haven't technically been closed, but he described the fires as cold cases.
He said there is no indication either was intentional.
"Nothing [has] shown at all that it was arson in any way, shape or form," Sullivan said. He noted that residents of the homes had been smoking on their front porches the day of the fires. It's impossible to know whether cigarettes caused the fires because the homes were so severely damaged, he said.
Fire officials determined another nearby house fire in April on Orange Plank Road was caused by smoking materials left in a can on the back deck. And a house fire in May on Burlingame Lane off Spotswood Furnace Road was caused by an exhaust fan that short-circuited, Sullivan said.
'TIME MARCHES ON'
She recalled how some of her cats would play under a futon in the office. She'd stop what she was doing and take pictures of them.
"We all spent a lot of time in this room," she said.
The new home is similar to the old one, which Byrd and her husband purchased in 2003, but has a larger bedroom and master bathroom.
It will also have a screened back porch--perfect for cats who want some fresh air.
"We'll definitely have more animals," Byrd said. "My husband and I just have such a love for the un-loved."
The living room will have a memorial for her late pets. The hundreds of pictures she took of them will be stored on an electronic frame she plans to put on a mantel.
"Whether you want it to or not, time marches on," Byrd said. "And so we've got to try to pick up the pieces and move along with it."
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402